Healthy Living

Eating healthy during a time of great change can be challenging at best.  In order to ensure you have a great college experience, please consider a few common pitfalls that students can easily avoid. 

Although, many students have a specific reason they are seeking nutrition counseling, there are just as many students who are seeking to learn about healthy eating in general or just to ask a question or two.  If you have an interest in discussing food, health and the eating process, just call and make an appointment and our registered dietitian can help.  

  1. Weight Management

Many students are not aware that the term “Freshman 15” was created by the media and is, in fact, not accurate.  One study found that the average weight gain for women is 7-9 pounds over their entire 4 years of undergraduate studies, while men averaged 12-13 pounds of weight gain over the same time frame.  Good old fashioned growth and development are the cause of this weight change and trying to alter this genetically-fueled change is often an effort that ends in weight gain. 

When talking about weight change, it is important to know that extreme or “fad” dieting does not work.  These diet plans may result in weight loss initially but weight regain is often the long-term result, sometimes even with a few added pounds. In addition, there has been a sharp increase in the usage of phone applications to monitor various aspects of diet.  Although there may be benefits to using this resource for health promotion, there are concerns that some applications recommend insufficient calories and do not consider the impact on individuals losing connection with their own body’s hunger and fullness cues. Students may find themselves with loss of energy, decreased ability to concentrate, chaotic eating patterns, binge-type eating, sleep disturbances, obsessing about food, digestive troubles and declining body image.   

 If you have further questions about realistic weight goals, restricting intake, using phone applications for health promotion or staying healthy while losing or gaining weight, please call Health Services at 443-9005 for nutrition counseling with the registered dietitian.  

  1. Little Time

College life comes with a busy schedule that often changes day-to-day.  This makes routine difficult to implement, and healthy living often is associated with some type of routine.  This is why planning for “no time” an important concept.  Try these ideas to see if they work for you:

-        Make a number of trail mix bags prior to the start of the semester to ensure you do not become stuck with nothing to eat.  Just bring one with you every day and you will be sure to find a place in which it is needed.

-        Oatmeal bowls are great for those mornings that you wake up late.  Just prefill small containers (or zip lock bags) with oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips and they are ready to grab and go – just add milk or yogurt.  No heating necessary. 

-        Make a sandwich the night before.  Peanut butter and jelly is the quickest!

Remember that you will be more efficient if you are well fed!    

  1. Little Money

There can be a variety of reasons that cause periods of time when students are low on cash and out of meal swipes.  It may be work keeping inexpensive foods on hand that also allow for nutrition and balanced meals.  A few examples include oatmeal, tortillas, cans of beans, rice noodles (can be made in hot water as opposed to boiling water), frozen vegetables, nut or seed butters, bananas and apples.  Consider heating up rice noodles in hot water with your favorite spices brought from home and frozen vegetables to make quick and tasty meal.  

Make sure to use all the meals in your meal plan.  If you are getting to the end of the week and have more swipes than you have time for meals, double swipe and bring a takeout meal with you for lunch the next day or dinner that night.            

If you do find yourself in a pinch, consider visiting the campus food pantry at Hendricks Chapel which is open to Syracuse Univesrity students with an SUID card. 

  1. Stress

While exciting and invigorating, the college experience may also have periods of stress for many students.  Although negative health impacts may be minimal from a few days of stress, chronic stress can greatly impact appetite and eating behaviors in ways that negatively affect health and overall wellness. 

It is important to not let chaotic eating patterns establish a pattern or habit in daily life.  The earlier you intervene to stop these harmful patterns, the faster you can get back to your exciting and invigorating college experience.

If you would like to talk to someone about stress management skills or learn ways to get back to positively managing your college experience, the Syracuse University Counseling Center is available during the semester by calling 315.443.4715.

If you would like to speak with a registered dietitian about ways to meet dietary needs during periods of stress, or brainstorm creative ideas to keep from falling off track, please call 443-9005 to schedule an appointment.